Monday, 30 April 2012

the competition

The Butterflies get ready to go on the ice at the Quispamsis Figure Skating Club's year-end ice show at the Quispamsis Memorial Arena in this photo from March, 2011. Photo: Kâté Braydon/Telegraph-Journal

Well hello. It's a big weekend coming up in the east coast news world. The Atlantic Journalism Awards are happening in Fredericton, NB this Saturday, May 5. It's a really fun weekend of eating, drinking and sharing crazy stories with fellow reporters and photographers from print, radio and TV.

This year, I am nominated for Best Photojournalism Feature for this picture I grabbed of some little figure skaters. It's funny - I would never have considered entering this picture. My colleague, Noel Chenier, suggested it, and I'm glad he did!

This was for a youth sports assignment. Every Friday, the sports section runs a full page of pictures of kids playing sports. Most of the time it's pretty standard. Straight-up shots of a kid in action. So this picture was a little out of the norm. Thankfully, the editor ran the shot, or else it would not have met the qualifications for the awards. It's funny how things work out. Youth sports assignments are definitely not my favourite thing to do. I pretty much cringe when I see them on my sked.

It's weird because I wouldn't consider it to be my best work. I mean, it's colourful, and has certain design elements like strong pattern and anomaly with the one girl looking off to the right...but really...why did the judges think this worthy of a nomination? Slim pickings this year perhaps? To compare, I entered this next picture last year, and nothing.

Hazel Kartoe Barclay, centre, and her daughter, Nelly, left, originally from Liberia, were two of the 62 people who received their Canadian citizenship on Wednesday, October 20, 2010. Photo: Kâté Braydon/Telegraph-Journal

See what I mean? Beautiful subject, perfect light, compelling story. This woman lived in a refugee camp for 10 years before immigrating to Canada! The second I spotted her I knew she was the shot I wanted to get. The building that the citizenship ceremony was held in had skylights, and there was some really strong light coming in through them. I stayed for the whole ceremony, 2 hours, until the light finally landed on Hazel. Man, I was so excited about this picture. It ran on the front page of the paper.

I have been told that judges normally favour feature pictures that were a captured moment, meaning something that was not set up. The above two meet that criteria. The next picture is a feature that I won an AJA for in 2008...very staged, but in a very creative way...

Ron Turcotte sits in his home near Grand Falls. In the foreground is a statue of him on Secretariat, the fastest horse in the world. May 21, 2008. Photo: Kâté Braydon/Telegraph-Journal

Ron Turcotte is a famous jockey who won the Triple Crown with Secretariat over 30 years ago now. There was a Disney movie made about it recently starring Diane Lane and John Malkovich! I LOVE John Malkovich. Who doesn't right? Anyway, I didn't see the movie. But I did get to spend an entire day with Ron at his beautiful home in Grand Falls, NB. He lives on a huge mass of land...rolling hills and green fields, and he still owns horses.

Some years later after winning the Triple Crown, Ron was thrown from a different horse and fractured his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

It's not often that I get to spend a whole day with one subject. It's not ever, actually. And it was worth it. Getting to know Ron helped me get this picture. It took a while for him to warm up to me. He's very quiet and reserved. But by the end of the day we were friends.

**Fun Fact - Winston Hurry, the heart surgery patient from my last post, told the reporter and I a story about his first heart surgery 10 years ago. He said he didn't get any sleep the night before the surgery because he was sharing a room with this guy who ended up telling Winston his life story. They talked all night. It was Ron!

Well, thanks for reading! Ciao.

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